Sometimes, lack of work can drive you nuts. Especially, if you have never known what it means to be without work. A first, it might not appear to be a bad thing, but this misplaced sense of freedom can be baffling. It can kill you. Recently, my work-life balance got quite messed up due to all the 'excess' life. It was a painful phase full of listlessness and boredom. I found myself behaving as if I had lost all purpose.
I would come to office unshaven , fatigued from all the nothingness that had engulfed my life. I started seeking answers to bigger questions of life like - why don't socks have pockets ? or why cant they add more cheese to burgers at McDonald's ? I would spend hours looking at my computer's screen hoping for an email to come and announce some work. I felt digitally ignored and deserted as none came. There were times when I contemplated feeding myself to the shredder but changed my mind after realising that we didn't have one in our office and other offices in the vicinity wouldn't allow me to use theirs. Essentially, life was in a terrible shape.
Someone, possibly Shakespeare, said that adversity has great virtues. I would give the old man a big pat on his back and a bear hug for being so damn right but he isn't around anymore, so I'll just carry on. After several days of feeling ambitionless, I figured out , what I proudly call, the 7 magnificent ways to keep yourself busy when you find yourself useless. Here's the treasure:
1. Wherever you go, walk in baby steps. Better still, crawl on all fours if your work place doesn't have a rule forbidding it. That way, you'll take a lot of time moving around. A few trips to the loo and your muscles would be aching with all the hard work.
2. If you have a team reporting into you, call them for random meetings and discuss impertinent issues. Use terms like 'brainstorming' and 'problem analysis' to make it sound like a serious affair. If you are creatively challenged and find it difficult to come up with topics to discuss, talk about the dipping economy and pay cuts. It always works.
3. Look for unlocked and unguarded computers of unsuspecting colleagues. Then, once you are sure no one is looking, update their Facebook profiles with random shit. It's great fun and adds some thrill to your day.
4. Start learning Wikipedia by heart, one page at a time. It's a great way to keep yourself busy. Sit with your boss at the end of the day and recite all that your have learnt to her. Later, ask her to grade your performance on how well you've remembered the articles.
5. Chew your food really well during lunch. Do not swallow unless you have chewed each bite at least 20 times. Also, consider taking short walks around the office premises after every 10 bites.
6. Ask a sympathetic colleague to move your data files to random locations on your computer, while you close your eyes and count till 100. Then, open your eyes and search them out . Once you find them , shout 'I spy!' . Repeat.
7. Hang out with your company's HR. Unless your company's HR is an exception, chances are that you'll find a lot of useless people there. Spend time with them, get inspired.
So that's the magnificent 7. Make sure you follow them exactly as prescribed for they are an outcome of relentless thinking during unparalleled ennui. If these don't work for you , you are broken beyond repair. Consider the 'shredder thing' I talked about earlier.
There's an 8th way. I haven't included it in the 'magnificent list' because it's kind of lame. It's called 'Updating your blog at work'.